Lake Guardian Program
Seeking Individuals and Businesses to Protect our Lake!
by Joe Kimmell
Last spring we announced the launch of our Lake Guardian Program, designed to educate homeowners and contractors on “lake-friendly” approaches to lawn care and landscaping within the Lake Charlevoix watershed, and to encourage their use. The Lake Guardian program is the result of a growing realization that while some homeowners or businesses may engage in activities which result in harmful runoff into our lake, most do so without understanding the impact of such actions, and how they can easily be avoided or remediated. Over the past 12 months, a committee of LCA members has been working to finalize the details of the program, and beginning this spring we will be reaching out to recruit “lake guardians” to join the effort.
Central to the protection of the water quality is avoiding unnecessary runoff of chemicals, fertilizers, yard waste and storm runoff, which will enter the lake and affect the water where we swim, boat and play. Mother Nature has created green buffer zones (“greenbelts”) to help filter water flowing into the lake. However, over the years much of the greenbelt protection has been eliminated, and landscaping and building plans have increased runoff, often adding harmful elements to it. The Lake Guardian program aims to promote proper approaches to landscaping and yard design and maintenance among homeowners and businesses alike. So, what does becoming a Lake Guardian entail, and why is it so important in protecting our lake?
If you are a homeowner…
Individual property owners and neighborhood associations will sign on as Lake Guardians, by agreeing to support a set of principles regarding the care of their properties. The LCA website has a sample of the homeowner pledge.
Basically, a homeowner will agree to limit or eliminate chemical usage, maintain septic areas, protect, maintain or restore greenbelt buffer zones and avoid actions which may create harmful water flow into the lake. Individual Lake Guardians will be encouraged to fly a Lake Guardian burgee (shown), evidencing their commitment to maintain their property in a manner which protects and enhances the lake’s water quality. We hope that by summer’s end, the sight of these burgees will become increasingly common around the lake.
If you are a business owner:
Those businesses, whose activities do not impact the watershed directly, will be asked to display a window decal showing their support for the principles of the program. Look for these decals throughout the area this summer.
A critical part of the program will be our Lake Guardian business partners whose activities do directly affect the watershed and water flow to the lake. Home builders, landscapers, architects, lawn care companies, chemical and fertilizer providers and others can have a major impact on protecting our lake, in the manner they choose to provide their services. “Impact” businesses will be recruited to join in our efforts by agreeing to a set of principles in the conduct of their business. These principles are designed to be flexible and allow a business to deal with the varying demands of clients and customers, while evidencing a sincere commitment to the philosophy of the Lake Guardian program.
All business Lake Guardians will be listed on our website, and “impact” guardians will be listed by business category, with links to their websites. LCA members and visitors to our website will be encouraged to engage contractors dedicated to protecting our lake, by considering those who have signed on as Lake Guardians.